Letting in the Light

This summer and autumn, a group of volunteers have been  assisting Dr Alison Smith from Plantlife, to carry out a citizen science survey of some of the ancient woodland boundaries in the Bovey Valley. They have been recording the lichens found growing on the ancient oaks that span some of the old boundaries and they have been helping to photograph the canopy cover of the trees, using a 360 degree fisheye lens camera. These photographs can be used to measure the amount of light reachingRead more

From Wood to Moor – a Dartmoor Conservation Story (chapter 1)

When you walk through the wooded fringes of Dartmoor you may occasionally hear the rasp of a chainsaw followed by the thud of falling conifer trees. You may sometimes stroll by a stack of timber, perhaps wondering what that pile of logs could be used for. Following that train of thought, you might perhaps ask yourself the question, “Why are they cutting down these trees? Isn’t that a bit destructive?” Well, in many of these woodlands there is a plan,Read more

Elm on the Edge

The story of the wych elm trees in the Bovey Valley Woods has reached its final chapter. The volunteers of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve began the adventure began back in 2016 when a hunt for the diminished population of elms took a painstakingly methodical route through the woods to find these elusive trees. The first stage of the project required the individual trees to be found, assessed for health, recorded and plotted on a map because, before thisRead more

Work to the Reservoir Starts!

Slightly hidden but only a short walk into Yarner Woods, lies the reservoir. It’s a popular place to sit and watch waterfowl species, such as the mandarin ducks, and on the sunny autumn days we have been having recently, it’s easy to overlook that underneath the surface of the water, it’s an ecosystem that’s not performing at its best. Results of a recent fish survey suggested its waters are deprived of nutrients, a condition known as ‘oligotrophic’. Fish were foundRead more

At Home in the Woods

A colony of rare barbastelle bats, living in the woodlands of the Bovey Valley, has been studied over recent years by researchers from the University of Bristol. Now their detailed work has been published, we can fly through its many paragraphs, results and recommendations to glean an understanding of how woodland bat species make best use of feeding and roosting opportunities among the ancient oak woods. The shelter and protection offered to this ‘near threatened’ species (see IUCN Red List) from the roostsRead more

Sound and Vision – A New View of the Behaviour of Woodland Bats

The colony of rare barbastelle bats in the woods of the Bovey Valley has been the subject of active research over recent years. This work has used radio tracking technology to monitor the movements of the bats between roost sites in the oak woods and their foraging grounds along hedges, woodland edges and rivers. Revealing discoveries of the species’ roosts have shown which areas of ancient woodland, and which cracks and crevasses, are preferred by the barbastelle, giving the natureRead more